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Council hopefuls state their cases

Ernesto Lopez
October 10, 2012 •
Filed under Cardiff by the Sea, Encinitas, Encinitas City Election, Leucadia, Olivenhain

With less than a month until elections, the Encinitas City Council race is well under way, and with nine candidates vying for three of five seats, the competition is stiff.

In the running are political newcomers such as Bryan Ziegler, incumbents Jerome Stocks and Mark Muir, who was appointed to council last November after the death of Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, and some familiar names around town, Tony Kranz and Lisa Shaffer.

Other candidates on the ballot in November will be Thomas Brophy, Kevin Forrester, Peter Schuh and Barbara Yost.

To get to know each candidate’s platform, the North Coast Current emailed them the same four questions to the contact information provided by the City Clerk. Below are the statements received. They are in their original form. They appear in alphabetical order.

Thomas Brophy

What single issue in Encinitas is most important to you and why?

“The most important issue that City Council needs to improve on is oversight and vision for development and growth.”

How do you view the City Council as it functions now?

“City Council membership has been dominated by a cliquish mindset akin to that of a very small town. As Encinitas matures into the vibrant cosmopolitan yet charming coastal city that it is, fresh minds are needed in City Council leadership.”

As a council member, what would be your priorities?

“Development and growth issues should be overseen with the perspective of the residents as a whole put first. The interests of Developers should be controlled to serve the greater interest of the community as a whole.”

Some brief background on you and your qualifications:

“I am qualified to serve on the City Council for these reasons:

“2011: The City Council passed a resolution for a new reserve fund for the Encinitas Ranch Golf Authority, created in conjunction with Encinitas Ranch, Leucadia Boulevard, and the commercial center. That action impacts the annual taxes of nearly 1,000 homeowners. I am serving on a ‘Leadership Committee,’ including HOA presidents and the City Manager, investigating this questionable tax increase.

“1998: I purchased one of the first homes in the Mendocino subdivision of Encinitas Ranch. As a homeowner there, I have served as an elected member of the HOA board since 2007, and I have been president since 2010.

“1997: I was invited to be Dean of the only California approved institution of higher education based in our City, the California Institute for Human Science, where I continue to teach Integral philosophy and integrative sciences (incorporating my PhD in physics and former work with NASA).

“My goal is to bring a fresh integrative-rational perspective to City Council that puts the interests of residents, homeowners and taxpayers first and to guide development of Encinitas, better integrating our tremendous resource of the natural environment into a unique world class city.”

Mark Muir

What single issue in Encinitas is most important to you and why?

“Continuous Improvement -Making government more effective (customer service) and efficient (biggest bang for our bucks) to our citizens in order to maintain our quality of life and unique community character.”

How do you view the City Council as it functions now?

“Although, I can’t speak for each council member and their inter-personal relationships, I find the council to be effective listeners, competent and pragmatic policy advisors. Most votes (above 90%) are unanimously, which shows common ground and consensus on most issues.

Each member should strive to provide respect and collaboration when working with each other in order to protect and service our community.”

As a council member, what would be your priorities?

“Balancing our budget with strong public safety and core community services.”

Some brief background on you and your qualifications:

“I have an Associate Degree in Fire Science, Bachelor Degree in Emergency Planning, and working toward completion of a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at San Diego State University.

“I was appointed to Encinitas’ City Council in November 2011, since then I have been appointed and actively involved on 11 local and regional boards. Over the last decade, I have served on many community regional boards including: San Dieguito and Olivenhain Water Districts, San Diego County Water Authority, Public Safety Advisory Boards, San Diego North Economic Development Council, and San Diego Association of Governments.

“As a current councilmember, I have been actively involved in the participation of a balanced budget with performance measurements, pension reform, Encinitas Community Park for our families, better beaches, increased public safety, responsible growth, and reduced traffic impacts in our neighborhoods, clean and reliable water.

“The San Diego Taxpayers Association, ‘Golden Watchdog Award’, recognized my efforts in saving millions in taxpayer dollars. The Encinitas Chamber of Commerce honored me as a ‘Community Hero’ and the New Encinitas Network named me a Top 25 Leader in the Past 25 Years.”

Lisa Shaffer

What single issue in Encinitas is most important to you and why?

“The future of land use and development is the most important issue facing Encinitas. Good decisions about the future must respect community character, preserve the environment, address the challenges of climate change and sustainability, and provide for local control and citizen input, while supporting and strengthening our economy. How we handle the general plan update will determine what kind of Encinitas we leave for our children.”

How do you view the City Council as it functions now?

“As it operates now, the Council is not a place for open, thoughtful discussion of critical issues. The Council lacks the leadership needed to create trust and a sense that we’re working together to strengthen the community and enhance our quality of life. There is a hostile atmosphere at many Council meetings.

“Council members and public speakers sometimes stray beyond the bounds of respectful speech. City Council is not now a place to explore exciting opportunities for the future. Instead it is a place where the mayor has total control of what items he will allow on the agenda and public commissions only represent the portion of the public sympathetic to the Council majority who control all appointments.”

As a council member, what would be your priorities?

“1) Change the culture in City Hall and work to build trust between residents and the Council. 2) Review Council operating procedures so that any Council member can bring an item to the agenda and have it heard within a reasonable period of time. 3) Address the general plan update, using the current plan as the baseline. We need a community-based discussion of our goals, requirements, and constraints, and then have staff prepare a clear ‘red-line’ draft update for review. 4) Organize occasional informal educational sessions with outside, independent experts (from the Encinitas community where possible) to bring fresh perspectives and best practices to important issues such as remediation of contaminated soil, outlooks for pension costs, and options for better public transportation within Encinitas (between El Camino Real and 101).”

Some brief background on you and your qualifications:

“Currently, I am a Lecturer at UC San Diego where I teach courses on ethics and corporate responsibility, business strategy and clean technology. I have over 30 years of experience as a leader, teacher, parent and volunteer. My years in business, government, and education have given me an understanding of management, negotiation, collaboration, and leadership. My full resume is on my website www.Shaffer4Council.

“Since being asked to run, and being endorsed by the late Council member Maggie Houlihan, I have spent more than a year preparing to serve on the Encinitas City Council. I take the responsibility seriously and have met with groups and individuals from different political perspectives, ages, occupations and neighborhoods to learn as much as possible about issues of greatest importance to each group.

“I have lived in Encinitas since early 2005. I am married to Stephen Bartram, a long-time Encinitas resident. We have four daughters, ranging in age from 20 to 30. As my professional career is winding down it allows me more time to give back to this community that I love. Encinitas is my home and I want it to have the best possible City Council. I will work to ensure that we protect and preserve what is wonderful and make responsible decisions about the future so our children can enjoy this special place, too.”

Jerome Stocks

What single issue in Encinitas is most important to you and why?

“Continuing to adopt only balanced budgets is critical to having a viable city, I’ll demand that.”

How do you view the City Council as it functions now?

“It functions fine, most votes are 5-0.”

As a council member, what would be your priorities?

“See number 1.”

Some brief background on you and your qualifications.

“I’ve been on the City Council since 2000, re-elected in 2004 and 2008. I’m a business owner, a husband, and a dad.”

Bryan Ziegler

What single issue in Encinitas is most important to you and why?

“The single issue that is most important to me as your future Encinitas City Councilman is the Encinitas Right to Vote Initiative because it gives the voters the right to decide on major development in our neighborhoods. This initiative truly does give the power back to the people. Please check out my website to learn more about me and this important ballot initiative: www.bryanziegler.com.”
How do you view the City Council as it functions now?

“Our City Council needs some work. I and most of our community was appalled at the proposed development along El Camino Real that would have added 3,000 residents to our neighborhood and create unnecessary gridlock. I have lived in Encinitas and am raising my children here. I want to make sure that we preserve our community so that our children do not have to move away when they grow up because it is overcrowded. We do not need our city to turn into an overcrowded, polluted, crime rampant community. As a prosecutor I believe I am in the best position to fight for the rights of the citizens in our community.”

As a council member, what would be your priorities?

“As your Encinitas City Councilman my priorities would be the following: 1) Preserve our beach community and protect it from over-development and pollution. 2) Ensure that we have adequate funding for law enforcement and that they have the necessary tools to fight crime in our city. 3) Adequately maintain our parks and recreational areas for our children. 4) Cut spending and maintain a balanced budget.”

Some brief background on you and your qualifications:

“Bryan McKeldin Ziegler was raised in North County San Diego and attended several local schoolshere including: Mission Estancia, Diegueño Junior High School and Santa Fe Christian High School. As grandson of the late Maryland Governor Theodore Roosevelt McKeld,Bryan was raised with a strong desire to serve his community. Bryan received a B.A. from Biola University and earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego School Of Law.

“As an attorney, Bryan has served as Senior Deputy County Counsel for the County of San Diego for the past four years, advising county agencies and assisting them in making important decisions affecting the health and welfare of its citizens. Bryan is cross-deputized as a Special Deputy District Attorney and has prosecuted environmental and land-use violators, recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars for the County.

“Previously, Bryan served as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Diego and a Deputy District Attorney for Contra Costa County. Bryan has also volunteered for over ten years as a Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy, seven of which were at the Encinitas Patrol Station serving our community.

“He and his beautiful wife Michelle are raising their four children here in Encinitas. They volunteer in their local church, mentoring young couples in preparation for marriage and started a Young Married’s program to help young couples grow spiritually and stay connected. Bryan has also been a coach at the YMCA for his son’s soccer team and loves spending time with them at local parks here in our community. Bryan hopes to further serve the citizens of Encinitas as a member of the City Council.”

Four candidates did not reply to the North Coast Current’s attempts to contact them for this piece. However, three – Barbara Yost, Kevin Forrester and Tony Kranz – were on hand for an Oct. 3 debate in Olivenhain at which they answered questions from residents. Candidate Peter Schuh was not present at the Olivenhain debate.

What will you do to promote fair and open decision making by City Council?

Forrester: “The government we have now is pretty darn transparent; all of our City Council meetings are broadcast live on TV and then they are posted online. One hundred percent transparency is impossible; we don’t have a right to go look in every drawer because government has to function. The transparency we have now is sufficient and it’s what the community needs. If there is evidence that the council, the staff or anyone else is trying to hide anything, I am the first one there to say we need to see what they are trying to hide.”

Kranz: “We are not transparent here in the city. On the Web site tonykranz.com, I have a draft of an open government ordinance that goes into great detail about how the City Council will behave. We recently had an agenda item where there was a break between public testimony and council deliberation. I wouldn’t be accusing any council member of doing anything uncordial but they can go in the back room and have a discussion about the issue on the agenda and that’s not appropriate. All the conversations should be held at the desk.”

Yost: “Listening to the people of the city, not just hearing them but actually listening to them I think would go a long way.”

Do you think that residents should have a say on their community character?

Forrester: “Do we all have a right to have an opinion about community character, yes. However, I don’t think everybody should have a veto right on stuff they don’t like … (People) have a right to be heard and opinions deserve to be considered fully and thoroughly, and I think they are in the processes in place.”

Kranz: “I do believe in community character having low community input, but on Hermes (Avenue) and Leucadia (Boulevard) there was recently development that was totally different then the rest of the homes in the neighborhood, and I think it’s important as a city to look at developing additional tools to try and keep projects like that from happening the way they did. Yes, there are property rights and am assuming that everything built there was done according to the law.”

Yost: “Neighborhoods need to have a say. I think that when a neighbor puts in something that does not conform to the whole entire neighborhood and will bring property values down, it needs to be looked at and the neighborhood needs to step in … if it’s going to make property values go up, then that’s a different story.”

To learn more about the candidates, visit these websites (there is no known website for Schuh):

Brophy: www.cihs.edu/cihs/Dr_Thomas_Brophy_bio.htm (CIHS website)

Forrester: www.forrester4encinitas.com

Kranz: www.tonykranz.com

Muir: markmuirencinitas.tumblr.com

Shaffer: shaffer4council.com

Stocks: ci.encinitas.ca.us/index.aspx?page=156 (city website)

Yost: www.barbyostencinitas.com

Ziegler: www.zig4d3.com

Ernesto Lopez is a San Diego freelance writer

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